Skip to Main Content

Standards & Specifications: A How-To Guide

Learn how to search for, and locate, full text of industry standards with this how-to guide from the Iowa State University Library.

Equivalent Standards

Industry standards are created by an issuing agency and can then also be "approved" by a larger national or international organization (such as ANSI or ISO, respectively).

If the ISU Library does not own the specific standard you want/need, one alternative might be to use an equivalent standard from another organization. For example, API Standard 2543 was also issued as ANSI Z11.172-1965 and ASTM D1086-1964.

Equivalent standards rarely have a different title, or any changes in the text, they are usually just reprinted by another standards organization; however, there are times when a specific standard will be modified slightly when reissued and approved by another organization. For class assignments, students usually don't need a specific standard as long as it's similar in content to one they know about. For other uses, such as in legal cases, the researcher will want the exact standard and an equivalent one will not be acceptable.

How to locate equivalent standards

  1. Search resources on the Standards Search Engines section of this guide - using a title keyword search (not by standard number). Any standard issued with a similar title will pop up in the results.
  2. Search a cross-reference list. This will allow you to look up a specific standard number and see if any other organization issued it under a different standard number.

Cross reference lists available in the Standards Center, Room 161 Parks Library:

Standards hidden within other books

Many standards have been reprinted within other books - primarily in engineering fields. For example, Metric Standards for Worldwide Manufacturing contains many tables copied from ISO standards - e.g., bearings, tires, metal cutting tools, fasteners, screw threads, etc. This particular book reprinted excerpts from the ISO standards they mention in the text; however, other books may reprint the entire ISO standard on a specific topic as part of the book appendix. There is NO good way to locate these...other than checking the Quick Search box on the Library homepage for your specific topic (e.g., bearings) and look for a good introductory handbook as these might contain some of the relevant standards in them.

Profile Photo
Kris Stacy-Bates
150 Parks Library

Iowa State University

515 294-6819